Plural Co-existence in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia is a place of rich diversity and home to over 600 million people. This diversity, a product of centuries of social, cultural, political and religious development, is at the heart of Southeast Asian societies. On one hand, migration, work opportunities, and the flow of cultural goods all create opportunities for people across to the region to meet each other. People live side by side and in that process contribute to the creation of different groupings known as “plural societies.” On the other hand, these can create various kinds of tension, conflict and violence directed toward certain groups or minorities.
In a region with such diversity, what does “plural co-existence” mean for different persons, groups, communities or nations? How do minority groups live side by side with majority groups? How do mixed communities deal with conflict and tension? Do minority languages disappear or come to life in urban areas where minority people settle in? With more and more Southeast Asians living outside of their home communities or forming new ones in the region, what kinds of contributions do they make? What kind of policies are there across the region have toward the diversity in their countries?